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coronavirus

Bleak outlook for aviation industry as Loganair implements emergency timetable

Loganair chief executive Jonathan Hinkles has announced cuts of 55 per cent in the airline’s daily activities.

Air services between Kirkwall and Inverness are suspended until May 31 as Loganair implements an emergency timetable for the next two months — and possibly longer.

However, this morning’s press release from the airline, stated that services between Kirkwall and Glasgow would also be suspended until May 31.

The airline has clarified this, saying this is not the case with limited services running until April 17 before the suspension of the route until May 31.

The announcement comes as Loganair reduces over half of its flying programme in April and May due to the increasing impact of the coronavirus.

Loganair’s chief executive Jonathan Hinkles assured passengers that lifeline services to island communities would be maintained although the frequency of these services may be reduced.

For Orkney flyers, the inter-isles services are unaffected, and two daily Edinburgh services, continuing to Shetland, will carry on.

Two daily services to and from Aberdeen will also go on, but flights to Glasgow and Inverness have been suspended.

Loganair’s chief executive Jonathan Hinkles said: “The coronavirus situation has worsened materially in the last four days, and we have now seen forward bookings fall by around 75 per cent versus their usual levels.

“From the end of next week, we will be implementing an emergency timetable, which will reduce our operations from around 214 to 95 scheduled flights each weekday — a cut of 55 per cent.

“We expect this to be a temporary reduction and we are implementing this until the end of May but may have to extend that timescale as the situation continues to develop.”

The airline says customers booked on flights up to the end of May can change their reservation without a change fee to travel on a future date.

However, if future flights are more expensive, the difference in fare will be payable. Where services are completely suspended, a full refund will be applicable.

Mr Hinkles continued: “I would strongly advise our affected customers to manage their booking through our website as we are experiencing exceptionally high call volumes into our call centre.

“The situation is incredibly serious and alongside the obvious health and safety implications, puts the future of the entire aviation industry in jeopardy.

“With this in mind, we have joined with other UK carriers to seek emergency measures from the Government to support all airlines in the sector.”

Hinkles revealed that Loganair staff have been asked to consider a series of measures aimed at protecting employment levels — including reducing working hours by 20 per cent and accepting a 20 per cent reduction in salary as a result or taking a period of unpaid leave.

He said: “We are working hard to avoid redundancies and lay-offs as have already been seen at major international airlines and as are likely to follow at several UK airlines in the coming days.”

It is expected that a quarter of Loganair’s fleet of 40 aircraft will be put into temporary storage as a result of the schedule reductions.

Full details of how to manage your booking are available on its website at www.loganair.co.uk.